Secure and Dynamic Publish/Subscribe: LCMsec: Appendix and References

11 Jul 2024


(1) Moritz Jasper, Barkhausen Institut gGmbH, Wurzburger Straße 46, Dresden, Germany (;

(2) Stefan Kopsell, Barkhausen Institut gGmbH, Wurzburger Straße 46, Dresden, Germany (

Abstract and Introduction

Related Work

Description of LCM

Attacker Model and Security Goals

LCMSec: The Proposed Protocol

Implementation and Evaluation


Appendix and References


A. Two attacks on the Dutta-Barua group key agreement

Zhang et al. present two attacks on the DBGKA protocol [23]. To fully understand them and this section, some understanding of the Dutta-Barua protocol [17] is required. While a full review of the protocol is out of scope for this work, for the purposes of this section, the most important thing is to understand that each KeyAgree() and Join() operation is associated with an instance id d. This instance id is incremented for each of those operations and can never be reused. Note that d can be regarded as a nonce: while it is not random, it is never reused. Another example of a protocol that uses non-random nonces is Wireguard [24].

Both attacks described by Zhang et al. are carried out by one or multiple malicious users who are part of the Dutta-Barua group, that is they have successfully participated in the DuttaBarua key agreement in the past. In this sense, the premise of the DBGKA is already violated: The DBGKA protocol provides no security against malicious insiders. Nevertheless, one should take this form of attack seriously: An honest user - representing, for instance, an IoT device - might at some point be compromised and become dishonest. Alternatively, he might have been dishonest all along, but his certificate is only revoked at a later stage. We will therefore discuss both attacks and show why they pose no threat to the LCMsec protocol.

1) First Attack: The first attack is carried out by a malicious leaving user who has been part of a previous successful DuttaBarua KeyAgreement() operation during which he has made some preparation for the attack by storing some of the protocol messages. When the Leave() operation is executed to expel this user from the group, Zhang et. al. show that the attacker can compute the new session key using the values he stored earlier.

However, as we understand the DBGKA, the purpose of the Leave() operation is not to expel dishonest users, but as a way for honest users to leave. When an honest user leaves in this way, it is possible for the remaining users to efficiently agree on a new key. If an honest user, on the other hand, does not execute the Leave() operation, a new KeyAgreement() operation has to performed, which is a lot less efficient for large groups. To expel a malicious user, the remaining users instead execute the KeyAgree() operation amongst themselves – this way, the attack is bypassed entirely.

Note that in the current version of LCMsec, we do not include a mechanism for certificate revocation or expelling users from the group and make no use of the Leave() operation, so this attack does not concern us. Still, the ability to add such a feature in the future is important. As we discussed, this can be done safely by using the KeyAgree() operation whenever a certificate is revoked.


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